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   Re: [xml-dev] XHTML 2.0: the one bright light?

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Steven Pemberton writes:
> > While I think [XHTML] modularization was an utter waste of time, it
> > doesn't affect users working on documents.
> Then you missed who it was aimed at: us (the HTML WG) and other
> language designers. Indeed it doesn't affect markup language users.

Then I think it may illustrate the substantial difference between
meta-activity and activities that produce direct results.  From my
perspective, the last three years of XHTML work have been about
pencil-sharpening, an activity which may produce sharp tools but which
do little to hold people's interest or grab their imagination.

As much as I like XHTML 2.0, my greatest concern for the spec isn't
HLink politics or anything to do with the features: I just wonder
whether there's a large audience out there with any interest remaining
in the subject.

> We were chartered to produce several versions of XHTML. XML is
> extensible at a very-fine-grained level (elements and attributes) and
> we needed a coarser-grained approach. So we designed a sort of DTD
> API (now also for Schemas) that allowed us to design modules so we
> could plug them together to make a language. That ensures that
> languages that use the same modules are interoperable across those
> modules. It also means that errors only have to be fixed in one place
> when they are discovered.
> We were able to build XHTML Basic and XHTML 1.1 from the same set of
> modules, and modularisation has now been used for WAP 2, as well as
> some other standards. This has so reduced our work that it certainly
> hasn't been a waste of time for us!
> The relative ease which we have been able to create XHTML+Math+SVG has
> also demonstrated the value of Modularisation. The Math working group
> had already produced a module, and it was reasonably simple to produce
> an SVG module. Then we just plugged them together. (The main problem
> has been character entities, which alas are not namespaced).

It's taken about two years to sort out modularization, and I suspect
that it's fair to describe their achievements as a brilliant
illustration of the limitations of both XML 1.0 DTDs and W3C XML Schema.
That they work now sufficiently for your needs is good to hear, but I
still wonder who if anyone out there is all that interested.

For my part, I'm definitely not interested in XHTML validation.  Other
than pages I've written for my XHTML book, I don't use the DOCTYPE
declaration on my XMLized HTML documents, though I do use @#X!
lower-case now and (sometimes) the XHTML namespace.  Validation seems to
be a fetish that's ruled the project, not something productive in and of
itself.  (I suspect that my relatively simple documents would in fact be
valid if tested, but have no reason to test.)

I look forward to XHTML 2.0 marking a change from this pattern and
hopefully giving a broader set of users some reason to be interested
once again.

Simon St.Laurent - SSL is my TLA
http://simonstl.com may be my URI
http://monasticxml.org may be my ascetic URI
urn:oid: is another possibility altogether


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